Dear Owner/Operator(s) of Aladdin Restaurant,
Given the many restaurant meals I have consumed during my lunch hour all over this fair city of ours, I have gained valuable knowledge and experience which can help your restaurant become one of the very best. Because, you see, right now you have a problem.
Do you have delicious food crafted from fresh ingredients, served hot? Yep.
Do you serve that delicious, hot food at reasonable prices? I think so.
And do you serve that delicious, hot, reasonably-priced food in a timely and efficient manner? Ummmmmm……..No.
Some days all I can think about is the tender, delicately spiced lamb mixture sliced and layered with fresh, crisp lettuce inside a warm pita cleverly wrapped in white paper so the filling doesn’t fall out as I devour it. And those thoughts are immediately followed by feelings of nervousness and distress that I experience every single time I go to Aladdin at the hand of the completely inadequate service.
To make our lunches more interesting, we try to have a discussion topic ready for lunch when the Fork You Crew dines together. Sometimes each person comes with an idea, sometimes topics simply emerge, and we’ve even had handouts before. This week, the issue of kids’ menus at upscale restaurants was tossed around.
I have been to some restaurants that do not have kids’ menus. That may be to discourage children or it could be to boost revenue by forcing parents to shell out for higher priced standard meals. In every case but one, I agree the restaurant really was not a place for young children. The exception: The Cheesecake Factory. But it’s not even upscale so they must be angling for higher check totals by eliminating kids’ portions.
I took my children to an expensive steak house in a larger city during vacation. They were 7 and 9 at the time. We were seated in the upper level away from the majority of the crowd. They were old enough not to throw a temper tantrum during the meal, but I was not offended by the segregation. Vacation meals pose a problem because you are unable to hire a sitter to stay with your children while you go out for a nice meal.
Personally, if I am out at a nice place where I expect to drop a C-note for dinner for two, I don’t want the soundtrack of the evening to be someone’s noisy kid. Or kids that get out of their chairs and walk around the place. If the children are old enough to sit there like the adults and be quiet, then that’s a different story. Places I would not take small children around Charleston: Chop House, Lawry’s, South Hills Market & Cafe, and Aubrey’s.
How do you feel? Do you take your kids everywhere? Does it bother you when your quiet evening is interrupted by a crying baby? Do you think the absence of a kids’ menu is the restaurant’s way of saying kids aren’t welcome?
Thanks to Daniel and his inquisitive nature, we uncovered a rip-off at Shoney’s last week.
Like most restaurants, beverage prices are not printed in the menu. I understand that beverage prices are tweaked frequently and it would be costly to reprint the menus every time the drinks were raised a nickel or dime. I expect to pay around $2 for a soda these days so I rarely ask how much they are.
Additionally, in the Shoney’s menu, no sizes are mentioned for sodas - just the choices of regular, diet, root beer, etc., which would lead the customer to believe that only one size is available.
We ordered our drinks and I chose water. Yes, it is an unusual choice for me but the last time I visited a Shoney’s (in Teays Valley) I remember the soda was $2.49 and I think that’s too much. When the drinks were delivered, they were served in large disposable cups with lids. On this visit, in Kanawha City, we were again served in large plastic disposable cups with lids. The disposable cup in question is on the left in the blurry iPhone photo above.
this picture is in no way associated with Food and Wine magazine, it is simply something I (Ron) googled.
Hello Ladies and Gents, and I do use those terms loosely.
(Is now a good time to mention this is Ron?)
Yes, there’s a lull in the Fork You halls these days… too cold to go out and eat. Yes, that task requires one of us to actually get off our bums to be the sacrificial lamb to go get the Fork You Mini Van and drive everyone to someplace to eat in order to express our culinary credibility to you our readers who are wasting your boss’ time by reading this.
(wow - run on sentence there, wasn’t it?)
Because our country has the greatest postal service in the world, I am able to bring you this fabulous piece of “Literary Gold”
(this observation coming from someone who has never been across the Mississippi, has been to Canada, and the most foreign place he’s ever been was - Boone County WV)
I originally posted this on my own personal blog the other day, but because we’re starved for content here also in these troubling times, I decided to cross pollenate. Spread my seed (or “disease”, choose your term).
The other day the Fork You Mansion was delivered the March edition of Food and Wine Magazine…. here is my (Ron’s) review. Please note that I pick up in the middle as the Fork You audience really doesn’t need to hear about my traumatizing knee injury and brilliant description of it:
Why I even decided to go to Bob Evans in the first place is completely beyond me. Blame it on a momentary lapse of reason. I had my two girls and one of their BFFs and we were headed to see The Squeakquel.
Yes, this is a horror story.
Wow, we here at Fork You are getting lazy. So lazy that today, I’m taking the initiative and “Going Rogue”.
Posting some unapproved nonsense, and plagerizing from the New York Times.
But before I begin… rest assured Fork You has 25 draft posts in the hopper, and several ideas in our collective melons.
Back to my original post…
In the New York Times – (yeah being the world reader I am) I noticed an article on One Hundred Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 1).
Reading through this first list is like a cornucopia of dining experiences here in West Virginia – at least it is for my hilljack ass.
Take a look at some of these - here’s four of the first five.
1. Do not let anyone enter the restaurant without a warm greeting.
- Ron Says - Well you would think this is common sense, but how often does it really happen. Yes I get tons of “Hi, how are you”, “So nice of you to join us”.. insert lame ass greeting here. – the problem is I don’t think any place ever actually sells it to me. What I mean is I don’t believe it. What I’m actually hearing is “Dammit, another costumer, I’ll never get out of here tonight”.
- Susan says - One place that really did sell it was Hall’s Chop House in Charleston SC.
3. Never refuse to seat three guests because a fourth has not yet arrived.
Our fellow foodaholics over at Grub Grade do an excellent job of reporting food deals. They always know where to get cheap food, free food, limited time only offers and coupons. All summer long, they have been posting the weekly Arby’s Freebies – each Wednesday, Arby’s offers a menu item for free, usually with the purchase of a soft drink.
This past Wednesday, the Arby’s Freebie was the Roast Chicken Club Sandwich. Buy a drink, get the Sammie free.